Green gardening secrets: How to eliminate bugs and pests without using poison

Green gardening secrets: How to eliminate bugs and pests without using poison

Wednesday, May 04, 2011 by: Neev M. Arnell

(NaturalNews) As people are turning away from chemical ingredients in everything from

cleaning products to beauty products, they are also turning to chemical-free foods by growing food in their own backyards.

In order to keep your homegrown produce as free from harmful chemicals as possible while keeping crop-destroying pests to a minimum use natural pest control methods. If prevention doesn't get the job done, try some home remedies first. As a last resort, you can turn to organic pesticide--just make sure all the ingredients are listed and they are all things you are not afraid to put on your food.


Preventing pest problems before they start is the best way get ahead of the problem ( You can do this by following some commonsense guidelines, such as pulling out any weak or already infected plants, building healthy soil to nurture strong plant growth, disinfecting tools after working on infected plants and minimizing breeding grounds for pests by getting rid of non-essential areas of the garden that might serve as a habitat. It is also useful to interplant and rotate crops because it will stop spreading or reinfestation of the many pests that are specific to one type of plant.

Fight nature with nature

Naturally attracting beneficial insects to your garden is one way to fight pests. These insects will prey on plant-damaging pests or their larvae and promote a healthier environment for your crops. Different predator species have different prey, so the type of predator insect you want to promote in your garden will depend on the type of pest problem you are dealing with.

Two commonly used predator insects include ladybugs and lacewings. ( Ladybugs eat whiteflies scale, mites and aphids and are attracted to tansy, members of the daisy family and yarrow ( Lacewings are also attracted yarrow as well as goldenrod, asters and black-eyed susan. They eat aphids and their larvae eat aphids as well as other varieties of insects.

University of Rhode Island Horticulture Program recommends dedicating five to ten percent of your garden space to growing flowers for beneficial insects like lady bugs and lacewings (

URI suggestion for annual flowers to encourage beneficial insects:

Spring: alyssum and buckwheat
Early summer: coriander, dill, yarrow and buckwheat
Mid-summer: coriander, fennel, dill, caraway, black-eyed susan, yarrow and dwarf sunflowers
Late summer: coriander, dill, black-eyed susan and dwarf sunflowers
Fall: alyssum, buckwheat and dwarf sunflowers

Homemade pest deterrents

If pests are still problematic homemade pesticides may provide the solution ( Ants, for example, are deterred by vinegar and coffee grounds, aphids by garlic and cayenne pepper, and slugs by eggshells.

There are as many different home pest concoctions as there are pests. Using garlic and onions, according to Mother Earth News, is just one way to kill aphids and apple borers, for instance. All you have to do is grind up raw onions or garlic into a puree, soak it warm water overnight and strain. The liquid can then be sprayed on roses, fruit trees, and flowers (

Commercial pesticides

Organic pesticides will often use ingredients similar to those in the homemade kind and have the added benefit of convenience. But consumers beware, just because a pesticide is labeled organic or natural does not mean that it is harmless to the environment.

A 2010 study from the University of Guelph revealed that some organic pesticides can have a higher environmental impact than conventional pesticides because the organic product may require larger doses.

"We found the mineral oil organic pesticide had the most impact on the environment because it works by smothering the aphids and therefore requires large amounts to be applied to the plants," said Rebecca Hallett, professor of environmental sciences at the University of Guelph in Canada (

Organic pesticides on the market often also only list active ingredients. But the active ingredients only comprise 1-2 percent of the solution, leaving 98-99 percent unknown. Nearly 4,000 inert ingredients--including several hundred that are considered hazardous under other federal rules--are used in agricultural and residential pesticides, according to Environmental Health News (http://www.environmentalhealthnews....).

"In terms of making pest management decisions and trying to do what is best for the environment, it's important to look at every compound and make a selection based on the environmental impact quotient rather than if it's simply natural or synthetic," said Hallett.

For those who do want to use organic pesticides, one that is effective against a number of pesticide-resistant insects and does not harm beneficial insects is neem oil. Also, being that it is biodegradable, it does not leave a residue on the final produce. Nature Neem offers a 100 percent cold pressed neem oil, so there are no other ingredients. Because it is oil it requires an emulsifier in order to mix with water, but it is possible to use household hand washing or dishwashing soaps.

Pharm Solutions Inc. is a company that also sidesteps the unknown ingredients pitfall by listing all ingredients on the label. Its Veggie Pharm insecticide and fungicide ( is made with the pure oils of cottonseed, garlic, peppermint and rosemary. The inactive ingredients include non-GMO canola oil, food grade oleic acid, and USP grade glycerin and carbonic acid monopotassium salt and carrot juice, and the remaining 83.3 percent is water. It has the added benefit that an emulsifier is already added, so it is ready to use.

Sources for this article include:

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Replies to This Discussion

Diatomaceous Earth ( ) is an excellent natural insect pest eliminator ... but it will also kill beneficials.

Ever since i was a kid my parents grew many different vegestables and herbs everything from carrots to beets from thyme to parsley and we had many different apple and pear trees and many berry bushes gooseberries, redcurrant and blackberries. I loved seeing it grow from a little seedling, but for some reason my parents got lazy when i got in my teen years and stopped cultivating.

Today i grow on every spot i can get my hands on, everything is organic, and ive only been hit hard by insects once in when i was growing broccoli but still i had plenty good to eat. Its totally hyped up about meldug, insects and fungi, you just have to really think on what you're doing. And not buy your way outta the problem with pesticides, gmo and so on. The farmers fail by mono-cultivating on wrong step or weather act-up and they're screwed and the banks love it.

I live in Copenhagen so i refuse to grow other than non-edible plants in there, but luckely im good at finding patches to grow veggies on just outside the city and i have friends that dont use their nice gardens so i "occupy" em.

Homegrown is surely the best!!!!


Sorry for the eternal yacking :-)

Hi Daniel, We've also always had an organic garden out back, but I've had my share of all kinds of bugs and powdery stuff on plants. Some of my crops are totally wasted, or they won't grow properly. Its only been this bad just these past few yrs, about 8 yrs, or so.

Unfortunately we're not away from the industries around us, then there is the large int'l airport just 75 kms away. I'm beginning to think that the large amounts of chemtrailing in this area has been pretty bad for the past 4 yrs, where I've been noticing the small amount of pure sunlight we get throughout the year, and how the seasons have not been favorable for many crops.

I've acquired a few sacks of calcium bentonite clay that I'll be distribuitng throughout the entire garden. One of its purposes is to draw out toxins and heavy metals, and give it minerals back into the soil. We've always use organic compost we make ourselves with organics only.

It can't be all that bad, if I have loads of ants and slugs and other flying insects. That shows how organic it is, right?

Companion planting is also useful for pest control. Onions and leeks, for instance, planted with carrots, keep the carrot fly away. There are several good books on this subject and worth experimenting with.

Another good tip for keeping pests from doing too much damage is to intercrop generally, interspersing vegetables with flowers and herbs, and having several  small patches of a vegetable rather than one large one. Perennial herbs can be grown in pots and moved around the garden. Most pungent smelling herbs and flowers have a repellent effect on bugs, and can even throw the foraging animals off the scent of your garden, too.

I'm having a big issue with ants and my sunflowers this year. They are leaf cutting like crazy, probably due to the crazy ass cold winter we had this year. They're probably making sure they store up food early due to being stuck underground for so long ;)

My sunflowers on the corner of the house stand almost 6 ft high right now but the others I planted on the side of the house are just not doing so well because they're being eaten alive.

I like the idea of mixing herbs, flowers and veggies together and little did I know that it can actually benefit all the plants. I learned something today :)

There's nothing I love more than blending many colorful plants together and creating a masterpiece of art under the sun. My gardens are growing from year to year since we bought our home 3 years ago. It's all a work in progress.

I dont know if you've tried any of these suggestions.?

5 Simple, Natural Ant Control Remedies

Try mixing just a few drops of dishwashing liquid with water and diatomaceous earth and spraying your plants with it:

Best regards!  Bruce

Thanks guys! I'm really all new to this because my family was living in an apt for many years before buying a home and being inside, you don't have to deal with all the critters on the outside ;)

NP. Found this video pretty interesting. Note what the guy says about the soap used in the mixture.! 

15 Ways to Repel Ants Naturally and Frugally with Items From Your Kitchen

I definitely will be using these home remedies on all my plants next year. My hostas are faring well and are very huge this year but I've seen a lot of leaf deterioration going on in the last few weeks. Damn bugs!!! 

The sunflowers on the front corner of my house are going to be gorgeous! Even with some leaf damage, they will fare well. It's so cool because I started them as little itty bitty seedlings and they've grown into monstrosities.

Great to hear you have been hooked on your garden. :-)

I think you'll find this interesting.

Eating hostas

WARNING: It seems to be an open question whether every single species of hosta is edible and therefore whether it is a good idea to try any unidentified hosta that you may happen across. 


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